A History of Potto Station
Royal Assent granted on the Act of Parliament allowing the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Railway Company to build a line from Picton to Grosmont.
The half-yearly meeting of the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Railway was held at York on Friday, 27th February, Lord De Lisle and Dudley in the chair. The line from Picton to Stokesley, 8.5 miles, was now completed, and would be opened for traffic on Monday 2nd March 1857. There will be three stations upon this section of the line, viz: Potto, Sexhow and Stokesley, at each of which there have been erected a dwelling house for the Station Master, waiting rooms and coal depots. The directors had for the present made arrangements with the North Eastern and West Hartlepool Railway Companies for the supply of locomotive power and working stock. The Chairman stated that the Whorlton mineral branch would be opened on the following Monday, from which a large amount of ironstone traffic would be conveyed over the line.
"Herapeth's Journal", 21st March 1857
The stations at Potto, Sexhow and Stokesley were designed by Mr. J. Bourne Esq. of Newcastle and built by Mr Fawcett of Thirsk
"Several directors of the railway, shareholders and their friends left York at noon on Monday (2nd March) by special train for the opening of the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Railway. The new line commences at the Picton Station, on the section of the North Eastern Railway, and at this station there were assembled a large number of people with banners, bands of music, and company.
Amidst loud cheers, the carriages left Picton and proceeded on the new line. Concurrently with the opening of the North Yorkshire and Cleveland line was the opening of a short line to the Whorlton royalties, and on reaching Potto Junction, the first station, this branch was traversed by those in the train, who had thus an opportunity of seeing the ironstone conveyed, by means of a tramway, to the branch line. Returning to the main line, the journey along the new railway was completed, the train arriving at Stokesley at about half past three.
At the railway station a procession was formed, headed by the townspeople carrying flags, and company, and by the bands playing popular airs; and followed by the chairman, directors and shareholders. The procession went to the Town Hall, where dinner was provided, and 200 gentlemen sat down."
"The Engineer", 13th March 1857
1857 to 1890 Thomas Walls
1890 to May 1908 John Walls (died 12 Dec 1911)
May 1908 Thomas Henry Walls as acting Station Master
1911 to 1920 James Potter
May 1920 to June 1920 J Easton
June 1920 to July 1935 (died at Potto Station 27th July 1935) H Pardoe
November 1935 to September 1942 J Spooner
October 1942 to July 1945 J Duggleby
September 1945 to 1960 Alf Anderson
1961 to 1974 Bill and Nancy Mead
1974 to 1988 Gilbert and Joan Swales
1988 to 2016 Mike and Sue Whitlock
Thomas Walls - age 33 - Rail Clerk - born Appleton Wiske
Hannah Walls - age 30 - Wife - born Northallerton
John Walls - age 9 - scholar - born Appleton Wiske
Elizabeth Walls - age 10months - born Northallerton
Thomas Walls - age 43 - Station Master - born Appleton Wiske
Hannah Walls - age 40 - Wife -born Northallerton
John Walls - Age 19 - Clerk to Railway - born Appleton Wiske
Elizabeth Walls - age 10 - born Potto
Loroa A Walls - age 8 - born Potto
Alice Walls - age 6 - born Potto
Thomas Walls - age 53 - Railway Station Master - born Appletreewick
Hannah Walls - age 50 - Wife - born Northallerton
Laura Anne Walls - age 19 - Dressmaker - born Potto
Alice Walls - age 16 - born Potto
Elizabeth M Walls was 20 and living at Potto Grange as a housemaid, John must have been living elsewhere, possibly Hutton Rudby as his daughters were born there - see below.
Walls Thos., station master (North Yorkshire and Cleveland, NER.), goods and coal agent - see link
John Walls (son of Thomas Walls) was Station Master from 1890 to 1908
John Walls - age 39 - Railway Station Master - born Appleton Wiske
Harriet Walls - age 39 - wife - born East Markham Nottinghamshire
Margaret H Walls - age 11 - born Hutton Rudby
Elizabeth Ann Walls - age 10 - born Hutton Rudby
John G Walls - age 3 - born Potto
John Wall - age 49 (widower) - Station Master - Born Appleton Wisk
Thomas Wall - Son - 22 - Railway Clark - Born Hutton Rudby
Margaret Wall - Daughter - 21 - Born Hutton Rudby
Elizabeth Wall - Daughter - 20 - Born Hutton Rudby
John Wall - Son - 13 - Born Potto
Thomas Walls (son of John Walls, Grandson of Thomas Walls) was acting Station Master in 1908 following the death of his father.
Population Served (1911) - 1,645
Tickets Issued (1911) - 12,133
Main Goods (1913) - Hay & Clover 435 Tons
Wagons of Livestock (1913) - 58
James Potter - age 59 - Station Master - Born Ravestonedale, Westmorland
Annie Potter - Wife - 59 - Born Kirkandrews-on-Eden, Cumberland
Margaret Isabella Potter - Daughter - 30 - Born Bishop Auckland, Durham
The last passenger service left Whitby at 5.42pm on Route for Stockton. The train was pulled by Locomotive B1 No. 61034 "Chiru"
Today, the 11½ mile section of railway line from Picton to Stokesley celebrates its centenary.
It originally formed part pf the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Railway, whose complete line was eventually opened to Grosmont in 1865, so linking Scarborough and Whitby with Tees-side.
The North Yorkshire and Cleveland Railway was authorised by Parliament in 1854, after the Bill for a rival scheme had been thrown out in the same session, which also marked the passing of the act for the amalgamation of several companies to form the powerful North Eastern Railway.
The rejected Bill had sought powers for a line direct from Thornaby, then called South Stockton, running south-eastwards to Stokesley, with two branches. The first chairman of the successful company was Lord de L'Isle of Dudley.
Work on the new line began at Picton on the Leeds-Hartlepool line in 1855, and in the same year a branch was authorised from Potto to the ironstone mines at Whorlton belonging to the Marquis of Ailesbury.
This branch was opened on the same day as the line to Stokesley. Competition for the ironstone traffic was still rife, and in this year there was again another proposal for a direct line from Stockton.
The Middlesbrough and Guisborough Railway, running a few miles to the north of the North Yorkshire and Cleveland, opened in 1854 to bring the iron stone from that part of Cleveland to the furnaces of Tees-side. It came to an agreement with the new company for a connecting branch between their two lines, running from Nunthorpe through Ayton to Battersby. The line from Stokesley reached this last place in 1858.
Also from Battersby the Rosedale branch was later to be built, climbing the northern edge of the Cleveland Hills by the Ingleby Incline on a gradient of 1 in 4½, and then pursuing its lonely, and often snowbound way south-east-wards across the moors.
East of Battersby, the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Railway served the villages of the Esk Valley well and, besides carrying a share of the heavy summer traffic between Tees-side and Whitby, it still has a popular local service throughout the year.
Under plans announced by the North Eastern Region, these services are due to be operated by diesel railcars in 1958.
The two mineral lines to Rosedale and Whorlton were closed and dismantled between the wars. With the scattered villages and inconveniently situated stations, passenger traffic over the western section of the line fell off until it was not sufficient to justify its retention. The local passenger trains were finally withdrawn in June 1954.
During the Second World War, one of the two tracks on this section was converted into a store for wagons, which at times may still be seen stretching in long lines over much of the 11½ miles.
With the train service over the line reduced to the daily freight only, proposals have been made for a narrow road bridge over it to be replaced by a level crossing.
Although elsewhere, even as close as Middlesbrough, attempts have been made for many years to have several level crossings eliminated, there is no doubt that the proposal would remove one of the last bottlenecks on the fine A172 road between Stokesley and the Tontine.
At Potto Station an interesting old relic remains, which is nearly as old as the line itself. To carry rainwater away from the platform are two iron rails, set on their sides.
On one of them can clearly be seen the date of its manufacture - 1863 - together with marks indicating that it was produced by the Middlesbrough firm of Bolckow Vaughn - P.W.B.S
EVENING GAZETTE, Saturday, March 2 1957
Potto Station was sold by British Rail to Nancy and Bill Mead (Bill was a signalman at Picton). The house was renamed 'Glenwood House'.
The station changed hands again, this time bought by Gilbert and Joan Swales. Gilbert used the former waiting room as a studio to pursue his work as a commercial artist.
Mike and Sue Whitlock bought the house and are still in residence today. The house has undergone another change of name this time to 'The Old Station'
Alf Anderson and his wife Ellen return to Potto Station on the occasion of their diamond wedding anniversary. Alf was the last station master at Potto, being in charge of the station from 1945 until 1960.
Alf Anderson, the last station master of a village railway station, celebrated his diamond wedding anniversary with his wife Ellen yesterday.
Alf was station master at Potto in North Yorkshire, from 1945 to 1960. He returned to the site of the station, now a house, to relive memories of the days when it was a fully fledged busy station.
He and Ellen also enjoyed a 60th wedding anniversary meal at Potto Hall in the village.
Alf, 89, now of Grosvenor Road, Billingham, was also station master at Wynyard railway station on Teesside when it was used to take in wounded servicemen and PoWs from the Second World War for transport to North East hospitals.
Alf said: "I really enjoyed working on the railways. But it was a sad day when the Beeching cuts meant the end of Potto Station.
"They were exiting times at Wynyard when we were one of the national network of stations for taking in wartime casualties, first from the trenches, and then from the Doodlebugs in London."
The pair met when Alf was ill with TB at Wolsingham sanatorium for infectious diseases. Ellen nursed him and they fell in love, even though forming relationships with patients was against the rules.
They married, had three children and Ellen retrained as a lecturer in social sciences and helped found North Tyneside college, where she served as head of department for 30 years. She was awarded the Queen's Silver Jubilee medal for services to education in 1977.
The Northern Echo, Friday, July 4, 1997
ANDERSON Peacefully in hospital, on July 21. Alfred, aged 94 years, former Station Master of Wynyard, Thorpe Thewles and Potto Stations. Beloved husband of the late Ellen, dearly loved father of Joan, Robin and Vivian. Funeral service and cremation to take place at Teesside Crematorium on Friday, July 26 in the Chapel of St. Bede at 3.00 p.m. Friends please meet at Crematorium Chapel.
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